Family is everything at Pearse Brothers Park, a 1950s estate just off Taylor’s Lane in Rathfarnham. “We bought the house from a man who had lived here with his mother,” says Marie, one of the owners of number 51. “His sister lived next door, and there was a gap in the fence between the two back gardens.” Some residents have a sibling down the road, a cousin around the corner, or an aunt who moved in when the houses were built by Dublin Corporation; others contribute to the mix of ages by moving in and bringing up young families there.
This is the case with Marie and her husband, Peter, who bought number 51 in its original condition in 2007 for €412,000 and have got value out of its every corner.
First they moved the kitchen from the front to the back, added a downstairs shower room off the hall, and moved the sitting room to the front. When their friends moved in to share the mortgage, it doubled as a music room, and it’s now a playroom. The third bedroom was then a recording studio; it later became a nursery and is now a home office.
In 2015 the couple changed the layout again, extending all across the back to create an open-plan kitchen-dining-living room that opens to the south-facing garden. Having lived there for eight years, the couple used their ingenuity and their family’s practical expertise to create the space they wanted. They also added enough insulation to the 111sq m (1,195sq ft) house to attain a Ber of B3.
They built the kitchen along one side, with a large wooden island – reusing the old units in a new utility room – and installed a steeply angled lightwell to brighten the living area, where they fitted a wood-burning stove. Two couches form an L around this cosy area, and at the far end of the dining area is a nook with well-stocked bookshelves and a big squashy chair facing out past a rack of plants through a full-height window to the garden.
Outside, the couple have incorporated elements of the old house into their planting, and they replaced the gappy fence. They also reconfigured the front garden by enclosing it for their small children to play safely, and by pushing the steps closer to the house; Marie stencilled the blue concrete with a pretty white pattern. The blue continues inside with a distinctive wallpaper along one hall wall and on the chimneybreast.
There are three bedrooms upstairs, a single and two doubles, of which one has another feature wall and a cute cast-iron fireplace. The main bathroom is also off the landing. With Peter working from home, they have reached a pinch point and are moving, reluctantly, for more space; number 51 is on the market through Sherry FitzGerald with an asking price of €495,000. According to the Property Price Register, only 15 have sold since 2010, and five of those changed hands in 2019 for sums ranging from €336,000 to €425,000.
The estate is located just off Taylor’s Lane at a remove from the traffic, 10 minutes’ walk from the clump of shops at Ballyboden. The vast, glorious expanse of Marlay Park, with crafts courtyard and Saturday market, is a few minutes in the other direction, and supermarkets, schools and sports are close by at Grange Road, Rathfarnham and Ballinteer.
And for another family history, you can can learn about the Pearse brothers at the museum across the road, within the 10-hectare St Enda’s Park to which, in 1910, Padraig Pearse moved his school from Cullenswood House in Ranelagh, and where he and his brother Willie taught boys until 1916.